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Child falls into exhibit during 'Rhino Encounter' at Brevard Zoo in Florida

January 01, 2019 - 1:57 pm
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(MELBOURNE, Fla.) -- A child fell into a rhino exhibit on Tuesday at the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida.

The child was rushed to a pediatric hospital in Orlando hospital for treatment, Brevard County Fire Rescue Department and zoo officials said.

"During a Rhino Encounter, a hands-on, educational experience with Brevard Zoo’s white rhinoceroses, a young guest entered the rhinoceros yard and was injured. The family was transported to a local hospital by ambulance. The condition of the child is unknown at this time," Brevard Zoo said in an emailed statement to ABC News.

"During the encounter, participants and the rhinoceroses are separated by a series of steel poles. According to witnesses, the child stumbled and fell in between two of the poles and at this point, the snout of at least one of rhinoceroses made contact with the child. The Zoo has offered this experience daily without incident since 2009," the statement said.

“Our number one concern is the safety and welfare of our guests and our hearts go out to the family,” Keith Winsten, the Zoo’s executive director said. “Safety has always been of paramount importance to us and we are suspending these encounters until we have thoroughly reviewed our processes and procedures to ensure this cannot happen again.”

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